There is a mysterious power in the word of God, like an acorn, containing all the information to build a mighty oak tree, when God unleashes the power of His word, He transforms people.
1) The Word of God- The Bible as God’s word for every aspect of life.
The Bible changed Europe in 5 ways, authority- all other authority, ecclesiastical, political and papal must submit to the Word of God, contrary to the Church of Rome, the reformers held that the church was under the authority of the Word.
1 The Bible available in the language of the people, the work of translation at the time of the reformation was revolutionary. We just see it as normal because we are children of the reformation.
2 infallibility and inerrancy- every part of every word is the living word of God. Jesus argued the point over a tense for example at one point. (I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob- showing life after death by a present tense).
3 The reformers brought in the idea of self authentication, scripture is the best interpreter of scripture. Not allegory or tradition but the Word itself.
4 liberation, the Reformers liberated the Bible by translation, the word be taught by expository preaching. Zwingli started preaching in the New Testament book of Matthew chapter 1 and just carried on, it was revolutionary but we are beneficiaries of the reformation. Straightforward understanding of the Bible, without imposing on it.
5 Power- the scriptures given to transform our mind, only one book can transform and conform us to the mind of God, the Bible.
The reformers encouraged everyone to not only read it but to study the Bible. In family worship the father is called to expound the scriptures. We might see this as normal but this is because we are children of the reformation.
2) The reformers recovered the Gospel of grace- they uncovered it from a false one. It’s by Grace Alone. In the Roman Catholic understanding according to Thomas Aquinas sanctification came before grace and before justification do your best and God would do the rest. The reformers said, you cannot do one single thing.
God’s way of salvation is a glorious substitute for the false gospel of Rome. Luther experienced this when he was whipping himself, sleeping on cold concrete- until he found grace, found that he had an open heaven, for him the gates of heaven were open.
Luther saw justification as the first thing and sanctification is the fruit of it and it is all of grace.
Grace calls us, justifies us, sanctifies us, and will glorify us.
Do you live by grace, is grace everything to you. Grace is more than what we think, because we do not start as neutral grace is undeserved kindness to those who deserve to be hell bound. It’s all of grace.
3) Experiential Piety- The Reformers preached a piety that can be experienced. The Fatherly sovereignty of God to His people in the Lord Jesus Christ.
4) Old paths- persevered the faith of the Reformers was the faith of primitive Christianity. They recovered the truths from the early days of the church. These old paths of the father’s is worth us pursuing. The reformation principle of sola scriptura doesn’t mean you throw away church history but we examine church history/tradition by scripture.
5) Christ as king- all done in subjection not to man but to God and His word. The reformers found themselves at odds with the Pope, the Pope had asserted authority, the kings asserted authority in their locality. The reformers said they were both wrong, not the Papacy and not the secular rulers. The Church was delivered from the State and the Pope.
We need to walk the tightrope avoiding anarchy as God calls us to honour authority, so we need to cultivate a heart of submission.
Yet we must be willing to oppose them when they oppose God. Christ is the head of the church.
6) Christian freedom- the gospel of Christ freed us from tyranny, the reformed faith abolished the idea of the divine right of kings. No-one but God had power over the conscience but God alone. Kingship was changed to constitutional rather than absolute. To free the church from the state and towards freedom and democracy and gave us the rule of law.
7) Vocations for the common good- the reformers recast the state as a commonwealth promoting the dignity of labour, encouraging trade and the growth of wealth for everyone. Everyone should thrive together, everyone has a stake in the life of the nation. This binds together the State as a commonwealth, everyone must do their work to the glory of God. It does away with the line between the secular and the sacred. All 7 days are from the LORD.
Everyone working for the good and salvation of his neighbour, this encouraged social cohesion, and care.
8) Marry and child rearing- marriage as a reflection of the Christ/church relationship. Parents raising their children who are loaned to them from God. Seeking God’s face, the whole concept of the Christian home was developed by the reformers and the Puritans. All of life must be lived for the glory of God. William Gough, 'You could have the most homely, cranky wife but you are to treat her like a godly queen.' Marriage is designed to encourage us in holiness and service.
9) Arts and sciences, the reformers rekindled the spirit of enquiry by exploring knowledge, opening academies, fostered the idea of universal education. Encouraging art, science, architecture astronomy, exploration.
10) The true worship of God- they understood that worship was at the centre, they came to the Word to see how we should worship. To bow down before the supreme majesty through Christ in the Spirit, and we are to have as our goal worshipping God in every aspect in our lives. To give to Him the honour that is due to His holy name.
Soli Deo Gloria.